Our Planet is a British nature documentary series made for Netflix. The series is narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Silverback Films, led by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, who also created BBC documentary series Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and The Blue Planet, in collaboration with the conservation charity World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Opening sequence for Our Planet
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||48–53 minutes|
|Original release||5 April 2019|
The series addresses issues of conservation while featuring these disparate animals in their respective home regions, and has been noted for its greater focus on humans' impact on the environment than traditional nature documentaries; centering around how climate change impacts all living creatures. It marked the first nature documentary Netflix has ever made. All episodes were released on 5 April 2019. A behind the scenes documentary was released onto Netflix on 2 August 2019. Netflix reported that 25 million households were expected to watch the series during its first month of release.
On 15 April 2015, it was announced that the team behind the BBC nature series Planet Earth would produce an eight-part nature docu-series for Netflix that would be released in 2019. It has been four years in the making and was filmed in 50 countries, and over 600 crew members took part in the production. The series focuses on the breadth of the diversity of habitats around the world, including the Arctic wilderness, the deep sea, the vast landscapes of Africa and the diverse jungles of South America.
In November 2018, David Attenborough was announced as the narrator, with the release date of 5 April 2019 also announced.
The series premiere was held on 4 April 2019, at the London's Natural History Museum. Guests at the premiere, included Prince Charles and his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry, Charlie Brooker, David Beckham and his son Brooklyn Beckham, Ellie Goulding along with the series narrator David Attenborough have attended the event to underline the support for action against climate change.
When giving the speech, Prince Charles said he hoped “Our Planet” would "educate hundreds of millions of people around the world about what action was required", while David hopes humans can be 'responsible careful citizens of this planet which is our only home, and for the creatures that live in it."
The first teaser trailer for "Our Planet" was released on 8 November 2018. Three months later on 4 February 2019, the second teaser trailer was released. On 19 March 2019, the official trailer for the documentary was released.
|“||[This] series will explore the Earth's most important habitats, and celebrate the life they still support. We will reveal what must be preserved if we are to ensure a future where humans and nature can thrive.||”|
|— David Attenborough, "One Planet"|
|No.||Title||Produced by||Original release date|
|1||"One Planet"||Adam Chapman||5 April 2019|
|Witness the planet's breathtaking diversity -- from seabirds carpet-bombing the ocean to wildebeasts eluding the wild dogs of the Serengeti.|
|2||"Frozen Worlds"||Sophie Lanfear||5 April 2019|
|On the unforgiving frontier of global warming, polar bears, walruses, seals and penguins find their icy Edens in peril.|
|3||"Jungles"||Huw Cordey||5 April 2019|
|Jungles and rainforests are home to an incredible variety of species like preening birds, intelligent orangutans, and remarkably ambitious ants.|
|4||"Coastal Seas"||Hugh Pearson||5 April 2019|
|From fearsome sharks to lowly urchins, 90 percent of marine creatures live in coastal waters. Protecting these habitats is a battle humanity must win.|
|5||"From Deserts to Grasslands"||Adam Chapman||5 April 2019|
|Cameras follow desert elephants seeking sustenance, bison roaming North American grasslands and caterpillars living the good life underground.|
|6||"The High Seas"||Hugh Pearson||5 April 2019|
|Venture into the deep, dark and desolate oceans that are home to an abundance of beautiful - and downright strange - creatures.|
|7||"Fresh Water"||Mandi Stark||5 April 2019|
|The need for fresh water is as strong as ever. However, the supply is becoming increasingly unpredictable for all manner of species.|
|8||"Forests"||Jeff Wilson||5 April 2019|
|Examine the fragile interdependence that exists between forests' wide variety of residents, including bald eagles, hunting dogs and Siberian tigers|
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 93% based on 27 reviews, and an average rating of 8.33/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A cornucopia of visual wonder and environmental advocacy, Our Planet's breathtaking cinematography explores more of this beautiful, blue marble while presenting an urgent call to action to its inhabitants" Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 88 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Lucy Mangen of The Guardian gives out 4 out of 5 stars to Our Planet, saying "it places clearer emphasis on the fragility and interconnectedness of all the species and eco-systems on display, and on the huge impact humanity has had on them in so short a time. Bryan Resnick of Vox praises the series as "can’t really describe the scale of what’s missing" stating "It reminds us we’re living in an age of staggering wildlife loss due to human development, over-fishing, deforestation, and climate change. This series doesn’t let us forget that. Humans have caused staggering amounts of wildlife loss. Our Planet doesn’t hide from it." Ben Travers of Indie Wire give out an overall B+ for the series, and claims that the series ruthlessly contrasts the world's natural wonders with the environmental crisis killing them off, he wrote "Their deaths are a warning for the darkness underlying all of Our Planet, a nature docuseries no longer content with passive commentary. It also offers all the stunning imagery you’ve come to expect from these documentarians, but its attitude may surprise you. Individual entries feel a little less memorable because of it. The light, comic touches that made for lovely little moments in Planet Earth are overshadowed, if not spoiled entirely, by the traumatic lessons put front and centre."
Will Gompertz of BBC also hands out a 4 out of 5 stars for the series, stating it "gives us some of the most dazzling images you are ever likely to view on TV. When necessary, they are embellished with Attenborough's commentary, which is never obtrusive and always written with brevity and wit...It has been created by masters of their craft with an exceptional narrator, I do wonder, though, if the experienced executive producers at BBC would have sharpened up the first episode a little." Stuart McGurk of British GQ said "It’s hard not to see this as a direct rebuke of the BBC’s nature documentaries: take one well-worn spectacular of the natural world, shoot it even more spectacularly than the BBC ever did and structure your whole opening episode around the idea that, without taking things like global warming seriously – without putting it front and centre about any show you’re making about the natural world, because how could you not – then pretty soon they’ll be nothing left to film so beautifully." Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant concluded the series as "stunningly ambitious", he wrote "Where Our Planet excels [Planet Earth and Blue Planet], though, is in its presentation. It’s not trying to convince anyone of anything — the time for doing that is long past. It’s simply stating this information as fact, in as straightforward a manner as possible. Not that it’s particularly difficult considering the evidence the series has on hand."
However, Ed Power of The Telegraph criticized the documentary series as "visually dazzling but very familiar." and gave it a 3 out of 5 stars, writing "It is clichéd in its portrayal of life on earth as a slow motion ballet of tooth and claw....In short, the innovations that made Attenborough’s previous series so sensational are conspicuously absent. It’s a haunting vision. More of this and Our Planet might have been a meaningful addition to the canon of natural history series. Instead, it prioritises cinematic grandeur to an almost oppressive degree." Writing in The Independent, Lucy Jones says the most important aspect of the series, which sets it apart from other nature documentaries of its type, is that the harsh realities of global warming, mass species extinction and environmental degradation are woven into the narration that accompanies the breathtaking scenes and imagery, but argues it does not go far enough, and should have been more radical given current ecological crises. In particular, she says the program should have called out those responsible for this ecocide. When Attenburough's narration tells the audience "We have destroyed half the forests on earth", she retorts "But, who is we? As well as the fossil fuel industry, where is the fishing industry? Agriculture? The plastics industry? The vested interests that keep the planet burning? Yes, we are all complicit – those of us in affluent societies with high-consumption lifestyles more so than anyone – but there are greater powers at work. Describing the scale of the challenge is necessary but I wanted the series to go further, to peer under the hood."
After its release, various clips taken have been uploaded to YouTube, including a clip from episode 2 of the series, Frozen Worlds, which left viewers traumatised and heartbroken after watching. It captures a walrus falling to its death after climbing on to dry land due to continuous melting of its ice habitat.
Zoologist Susan Crockford and controversial early Greenpeace member Patrick Moore, both associated with The Heartland Institute, claim the series is "eco-tragedy porn," and say that the walrus scene is "misleading" and "out of context." Crockford also leveled accusations that walruses may have been spooked by drones or other filming equipment. Netflix spliced footage from separate 2017 events and made it look as if it were the same scene. Producer Sophie Lanfear clarified that "the sequence includes footage from two separate beaches." The producers consider the spliced walrus segment "the most powerful story they found during four years of filming." Andrew Montford, writing in The Spectator, said "it raises the possibility that Netflix and the WWF are, innocently or otherwise, party to a deception of the public." Shaye Wolf, Climate Science Director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland, insists that the "walrus deaths shown in “Our Planet” are becoming increasingly common as the sea ice they depend on melts away faster than we predicted."
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||5 April 2019 (Digital)|
|Genre||Soundtrack, Classical music|
|Label||Decca Records, Universal Music|
The soundtrack was released with a compilation of the incidental music specially commissioned for Our Planet. The theme song "In This Together", which is a collaboration with English singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding, is also included.
- "'Our Planet: Behind the Scenes' Documentary Arrives on Netflix". What's on Netflix. August 2, 2019.
- Porter, Rick (16 April 2019). "'Umbrella Academy' Draws 45M Global Viewers, Netflix Claims". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (15 April 2015). "Planet Earth team head to Netflix for epic new series Our Planet". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (15 April 2015). "Netflix Slates 'Our Planet' Massive Nature Documentary Series for 2019". Variety. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
- Waterson, Jim (8 November 2018). "David Attenborough to present Netflix nature series Our Planet". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Ling, Thomas (5 April 2019). "Royals join David Attenborough for star-studded Our Planet Netflix premiere". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "UK royals attend Netflix 'Our Planet' premiere". Reuters. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- Kamp, Justin (8 November 2018). "Netflix Shares Teaser for New Documentary Series Our Planet". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
- Netflix (2018-11-08), Our Planet | Teaser [HD] | Netflix, retrieved 2019-04-10
- Netflix (2019-02-03), Our Planet | Official Teaser [HD] | Netflix, retrieved 2019-04-10
- Greene, Steve (2019-03-19). "'Our Planet' Trailer: Ambitious Netflix Nature Series Visits All Seven Continents". Indie Wire. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
- "Our Planet - Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- "Our Planet Netflix Official Site", Netflix, retrieved 7 June 2019
- "Our Planet: Season 1", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 19 April 2019
- "Our Planet Reviews", Metacritic, retrieved 19 April 2019
- Mangan, Lucy (5 April 2019). "Our Planet review – Attenborough's first act as an eco-warrior". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- Resnick, Brian (2019-04-08). "Netflix's Our Planet focuses on the most important nature story of our time: loss". Vox. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- Travers, Ben (2019-04-05). "'Our Planet' Review: Netflix's Stunning Nature Doc Is Here to Tell You We're Screwed". IndieWire. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- Gompertz, Will (2019-04-06). "Review: Our Planet, Sir David Attenborough's Netflix debut". Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- McGurk, Stuart. "David Attenborough's new Netflix series Our Planet is a direct rebuke of the BBC". British GQ. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- "Review: Netflix's Our Planet". ScreenRant. 2019-04-03. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- Power, Ed (2019-04-01). "Our Planet review: David Attenborough's Netflix series is visually dazzling but very familiar". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- Jones, Lucy (7 April 2019). "Our Planet: We are already into the sixth mass extinction – Attenborough's new Netflix series is just not urgent or radical enough". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
- "Our Planet | Walrus | Behind the Scenes | Netflix". YouTube. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
- Perrie, Stewart (9 April 2019). "Viewers Are Being Broken By The Walrus Scene From Netflix's Our Planet". LADbible. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/netflix-series-our-planet-accused-of-fake-climate-change-claims/news-story/c6c4dfd006bdad17cb4ea7acd55a5aba?nk=67dc773b03d80afa4d24c7b22ed27be7-1555264484 "Netflix’s acclaimed Our Planet series has come under fire for “tragedy porn” over images of walruses falling to their deaths from cliff tops"
- "NETFLIX DEFENDS GRAPHIC WALRUS SCENE IN 'OUR PLANET'". TMZ. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
Some critics accuse the producers of emotional manipulation and twisting facts ... and that includes some zoologists and prominent environmentalists, who claim the walrus scene is out of context.
- "After complaints from parents, Our Planet director defends footage of walruses plummeting to their death". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
Some scientists have questioned the program's correlation between climate change and the walruses falling, arguing that walruses were falling off cliffs before sea ice started receding.
- Thinus Ferreira (11 April 2019). "Netflix faces backlash over walrus death-plunge scene in David Attenborough's 'Our Planet' doc series". News24. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
Research and environmental critics have come out to say the Netflix narrative over the true nature of the scene is misleading
- Ally Foster (17 April 2018). "Allegations Netflix film crew lied about what caused mass walrus deaths". news.com.au - News Corp. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
There have also been accusations that the film crew blocked the walruses exit and spooked the animals with their drones and other equipment. A US Fisheries spokesman said walruses can flee en masse in response to “the sight, sound and especially odours from humans and machines”
- YONG, ED (8 April 2019). "The Disturbing Walrus Scene in Our Planet". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
This confusion arises from the ways in which documentaries elide space and time. Lanfear clarifies that the sequence includes footage from two separate beaches—one with the 100,000-strong congregation and one with the falls.
- Damian Whitworth (5 April 2019). "David Attenborough's Our Planet: Walruses plunging to deaths become new symbol of climate change". The Times. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
the plight of the walruses is regarded by the producers as the most powerful story they found during four years of filming. “It was really traumatic.
- Andrew Montford (9 April 2019). "Has Netflix's Our Planet hidden the real cause of walrus deaths?". The Spectator. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
This is all very troubling as it raises the possibility that Netflix and the WWF are, innocently or otherwise, party to a deception of the public. Exactly who was aware of the presence of polar bears remains unclear, but it seems doubtful that no one at the WWF and the production team was unaware. And given that one of the prime objectives of the show seems to have been to raise funds for WWF, that seems… problematic.
- Wolf, Shaye (April 17, 2019). "Walruses Are Jumping Off Cliffs to Their Deaths—Yes, Because of Climate Change". Common Dreams. Retrieved April 19, 2019.